I’ve only seen one once. I was staying with friends on Vancouver Island. They took me to a marina in Victoria, where you buy fish scraps to feed to the seals hanging round the jetties. Then we saw him, hiding under the boardwalk, darting out to snatch bits of fish and retreating to his shelter. A sea otter, faster than the seals, but much the same sleek, streamlined body shape, with a thick, glossy fur coat which very nearly led to their extinction.
Nobody really knows how many sea otters there originally were, but they stretched from Japan, via the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands across to Alaska, British Columbia and down the Californian coastline. By 1911, when Japan, Russia, Britain and the United States, signed a treaty giving them protection, there were only about 1000 to 2000 left. Continue reading